[CT Birds] ID help, wish I had brought a camera
Kfinnan at aol.com
Kfinnan at aol.com
Wed May 22 09:03:05 EDT 2013
The main problem with the birdsong CDs is that they include just one or two
songs for each bird whereas a Warbler will have a much more extensive
repertoire. The CDs do have the songs most likely to be heard but, in the
field, you could readily encounter one of the versions that is not on a CD.
Two weeks ago, a few BT Green Warblers showed up in our neighborhood and
presented all sorts of song variants that included whistles and buzzes. It's
almost like they were young males just learning the ropes. Often, one of
the buzz/whistle combinations was repetitive, just like a more common song.
Sorting those out requires a much more extensive library than any CD could
provide. Fortunately, the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology's Macaulay
Library, http://macaulaylibrary.org/, does have such a broad selection. The
only issue is that you have to sort through a large number of calls and songs
for any given species. But it's worth it.
The Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology also markets a CD, Songs of the
Warblers of North America. Longer ago than I care to admit, I purchased the
In a message dated 5/21/2013 10:50:09 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
jswattbirds at snet.net writes:
A few years back I vowed to take a camera with me every time I went into
the woods after I went on a hike without one, and witnessed a black bear try
to tear apart a beaver lodge and the beavers came out and were tail
splashing at the bear to get it to stop. So, of course, last Thursday I went for
a hike with exercise as my main objective and decided not to take the
camera, but did bring binoculars, knowing there would be plenty of warblers in
the woods. And, of course, I came upon a warbler that I could not readily
identify in the field, but when I reviewed my notes later that night, I
came up with Townsend's Warbler.
My first contact with the bird was when I heard the song, and recognized
that I had never heard it before. It was very buzzy, and ended in a rolling
upward note. I found the tree where the song was coming from but it took a
long time to find the source as the leaf cover was full. I only had two
good glimpses at the bird as it was very active and would not stay in one
place very long. I first saw the breast and wing peak out from under leaf
cover. The breast was yellow with black streaks coalescing in the throat
area and it had white wing bars. I first thought it was a Magnolia Warbler
when I saw the breast, but immediately realized the song was much longer and
buzzier than a Magnolia. I followed it around the tree top and eventually
got a look at it's head showing a thick black eye line with yellow above
and below the eye line. After a while I didn't get any more looks at it and
decided to move on. I thought maybe it was a
Blackburnian and the dim light in the tree made it look yellow instead of
orange, and even though I've heard a typical Blackburnian song before, I
know it has several alternate songs.
When I got home from work I listened to my Stokes CDs and realized it was
not a Blackburnian song. I looked in my Sibley's for an alternative and my
jaw dropped when I saw the Townsend's. It's a very good match to my field
notes that I drew up, however, when I listened to the Stokes CD's
recording of Townsend's it didn't sound at all like what I heard. I only saw the
bird twice, but heard it frequently. It gave 4 buzzy notes followed by a
rolling upward whistle. The 3rd and 4th notes were higher pitched than the
1st two. It was a little bit burrier than a Black-throated Green's song
(one was singing in a tree behind me while I was listening to the mystery
bird). It also seemed to be a bit louder than the BTGW.
On Friday, Saturday and Monday I returned to the area of the Tunxis trail
that I had originally found the bird, (with a camera) but could not
relocate it. Can anyone identify the song based on the limited description I have
of the bird? I would love for it to be an alternative Townsend's song,
but I'm being realistic that it's probably a more common bird that I'm just
not as familiar with.
This list is provided by the Connecticut Ornithological Association (COA)
for the discussion of birds and birding in Connecticut.
For subscription information visit
More information about the CTBirds